Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Medicine and health’ Category

How does the Wuhan coronavirus spread?

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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or a virologist or any other occupation that would give me job-related expertise.

The new coronavirus spreads very much like the flu does. There can be the impression that it’s some sort of super contagion but there’s no evidence of that. It’s not like someone with the virus gets on a plane, and then when the plane lands everyone on the plane has the virus. In fact, I don’t know of any confirmed cases of transmission that happened on a plane flight (although I could be wrong).

I think there are five reasons why this virus has a higher R0 than seasonal flu:

1. An infected person can be contagious for a very long time. It’s believed that the virus can be contagious before even the appearance of symptoms, and in the case of severe infections, it can be three weeks between first symptoms and release from a hospital or death. That’s a long time for the virus to infect people, especially medical workers who aren’t taking precautions because they don’t know that their patient has the virus because the patient was never tested.

2. Some (many?) people who get the virus are asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic but are still contagious. They have no reason to think they have a serious infectious illness and need to stay home, nor do the people who come in contact with them have reason to avoid them. Patient 1 in northern Italy caught the virus from patient 0 who never had any symptoms except for mild cold symptoms for only one day.

3. Foodborne and fecal transmission. I think that, compared to seasonal flu, this virus is more easily caught by eating food prepared by someone who has the virus. I suspect that’s how it spread through the cruise ship, and NOT through the air circulation. There is a scientific paper supporting the idea of fecal to oral transmission. This also suggests a possible transmission vector from sitting on a public toilet and flushing it, which could spray virus up your anus.

4. Many people have some level of immunity to seasonal flus because they’ve had a similar flu in the past or had a flu vaccine, but no one has any immunity to the new coronavirus.

5. Super-spreaders, people who shed more virus than most people, seem to be responsible for a disproportionate number of transmissions. I don’t know if this also happens with influenza, but perhaps the super-spreader phenomenon is more pronounced with coronaviruses. The super-spreader phenomenon was observed with previous coronaviruses (MERS and SARS).

For the reasons above, people who believe the virus will magically disappear when the weather gets warm are just deluding themselves. The contagiousness could go down a bit during warmer weather, but the virus will still be contagious enough to continue to spread unless we impose society-wide efforts to increase social distancing.

As for practical advice, the best way to avoid catching this is the same as the best way to avoid catching any other type of upper respiratory infection. Keep your distance (3 feet minimum, ideally 6 feet) from people who are infected. And because you don’t know who’s infected, keep your distance from everyone. Plus good hand hygiene.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 22, 2020 at EST pm

Saturday morning virus update

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There are now more than 51 confirmed cases in northern Italy according to Sky TG24 news. 39 in Lombardy, 12 in Veneto. Two are dead.

Train service has been suspended to 11 cities in northern Italy. Schools have been ordered closed and public events canceled, people are advised to stay home, etc.

South Korea

There are now a total of 433 confirmed cases. According to the NY Times, more than half of the cases are members of the religous cult, 111 cases are patients and staff of a hospital (mostly in the mental ward of that hospital). More than 1,250 members of the cult (the Sincheonji Church of Jesus) have reported potential symptoms, and 700 members can’t be located to be screened.

Samsung has closed down a factory over the weekend because an employee tested positive. They say they are going to disinfect everything and re-open on Monday.


133 total cases, an increase of 29 since my Friday morning update. The biggest one-day increase. What’s troubling for Japan is that they have occurred in just about every part of the country, so the virus is all over the place in Japan.


Only 3 new cases for total of 89 total. Singapore has it’s stuff together and may be the only country in the world to keep its citizens safe.


The official number of reported deaths is now 5. Among additional confirmed cases, a mayor from district 13 of Tehran. But I don’t believe the numbers being released by Iran are relevant because even if they wanted to be open with their information, they probably lack the abilities to test everyone. The assumption is that the virus is epidemic in Iran like it is in China.

Cruise Ships

More people evacuated from the cruise ship that was quarantined have tested positive. On the other hand, the woman who Malaysia claimed was positive, now she tests negative. I think that was a false positive. I think that if the virus was really present on the cruise ship, it would have spread around to many more people than just one old woman. So hopefully, good news there.

United States

We haven’t tested anyone, so there are no new cases if you don’t test anyone. Given that there was a whole lot more plane travel between the U.S. and China than between China and Italy or China and Iran, it would be very foolish to think that the virus isn’t spreading here.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 22, 2020 at EST am

142 additional cases in South Korea

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This is the Google Chrome machine translation:

(Seoul: Yonhap News) Reporter Kim Jandi announced on January 22 that 142 patients with new coronavirus infection (Corona 19) occurred in Korea. The number of domestic confirmations increased to 346.
Two of the confirmed patients are dead. One patient was diagnosed as corona 19 after being killed at Qingdao University Hospital in South Korea and the other day was transferred to Busan University Hospital.
Of the 142 confirmed, 131 occurred in Daegu (28) and Gyeongbuk (103).
A total of 38 people are involved in the Shincheon Daegu Church.
The number of people involved in Qingdao Daenam Hospital was 92.
Copyright (c) Yonhap News, All Rights Reserved-All Rights Reserved. 2020/02/22 10:09

If I read that correctly, 92 of the cases involve people at a hospital who are not members of the cult-church. If that’s true, that would be pretty bad. It means the virus has spread outside the cult. Also, 11 of the new cases come from outside the Gyeongbuk region of the country, so the virus is spreading around the country.

There are probably hundreds of undetected cases around the United States right now, if not thousands, but we haven’t done any tests, so who knows?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 21, 2020 at EST pm

U.S. media blackout of coronavirus

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Major things happening with the coronavirus pandemic today (yes, today it’s time to call it a pandemic). South Korea, Italy, Iran. But near-total yawn from America fakestream media. At, the only front-page article I see about the virus says “What’s spreading faster than coronavirus in the US? Racist attacks against Asians.” At this point, I can almost guarantee that if people in the U.S. were actually being tested, we’d find out that the virus is spreading faster than racism. And no, it’s not racist to avoid Chinese restaurants. Who’s more likely to have come back from China with the virus? The Chinese guy preparing the food at a Chinese restaurant? Or the Mexican guy preparing the food at the Olive Garden?

Major internet companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are censoring talk about the virus. They appear to be shadowbanning any posts about the virus, meaning you won’t find them unless you actively seek them out.

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UPDATE: According to commenter GrassMudHorse, at 4:01 PM, exactly a minute after the U.S. stock market trading closed for the weekend, the New York Times suddenly put up a lead article on the home page “Coronavirus Cases in U.S., Iran and South Korea Raise Fear of Global Spread.” Did they time that to prevent a stock market crash? To give people in the know time to get out? Well you, my readers, have been in the know for two weeks but you’ve mocked me for it. On February 6th, I first warned you about the virus and advised you to sell your stocks.

And because you read my blog, you’ve known about Iran and South Korea for nearly TWO DAYS before the New York Times thought it was important enough to mention. You also know about the sudden cluster of cases in Italy making news today. Furthermore, the NY Times article is missing key information. (1) It’s likely that Iran has vastly understated the true scope of the outbreak. (2) South Korea is testing hundreds more people from the church cult who have symptoms, and likely the number of cases will increase substantially after more testing is completed.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 21, 2020 at EST pm

16 cases of local transmission in Italy

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In addition to the 6 from the previous post, 10 more confirmed cases, including 5 healthcare workers.

Another 250 people who had contact with the 38-year-old were put in solitary confinement.

Ate least Italy is doing something, in the United States no one would have been tested because our test kits don’t work. I think that people will remember that while this crisis is brewing, Trump is going to campaign rallies and saying stupid stuff about who won the Academy Award for Best Picture. When it’s all over, it’s not going to look very good for Trump.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 21, 2020 at EST pm

Six cases of local transmission in Italy

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This English-language article has an update on the situation.

A total of six people in Lombardy, Italy, have been confirmed to have the virus, and all of them are in serious condition and relatively young (around 40 years old). All are local transmissions, none have been to China.

Three of the cases are connected to a 38-year-old man who may have contracted the virus from a friend who visited China, even though that friend tested negative. It’s possible that the friend had the virus, was asymptomatic but still contagious, and has since recovered.

The other three cases have not been contact traced.

I would point out that if they are in serious condition, that probably indicates they would have caught the virus more than a week ago, possibly more than two weeks ago. Also, because only 20% of cases reach a serious condition, possibly even less, this could indicate that there are currently five to ten times as many people infected with the virus in Lombardy.

Also, this demonstrates that this is not just a disease that affects old people or East Asian people.

UPDATE: Confirmed that the friend who visited China is patient 0. “He returned from China between January 20 and 21 , but he has always been well (and still is healthy), except February 10, when he had mild flu symptoms. Immediately there had been doubts.”

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The stock market is down 1%, but still not too late to sell your stocks. Bad news over the weekend could cause a crash on Monday. I don’t see how there could be any good news over the weekend.

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ITALY UPDATE: Two more likely cases, a doctor who treated the patient, and a contact of the doctor. They aren’t tested yet, but given that the doctor has pneumonia and he treated the infected patient, I think it’s pretty likely that the doctor has contracted the virus.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 21, 2020 at EST am

Virus outbreak in Iran, more evidence

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It is reported that the woman who tested positive for the virus in Lebanon flew in from Qom, Iran. Lebanon is testing additional suspected cases. (Once again, it seems like crappy third-world countries are better at detecting the virus than the United States.)

This news means that two cases of the virus, one in Canada and one in Lebanon, are both traced back to Iran. One case could be a coincidence. Two cases means it’s highly likely that the virus is totally uncontained in Iran. And if it has spread to Lebanon, it has likely spread to Iraq and Pakistan and any other country that has Shi’ite pilgrims visiting the holy city of Qom.

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Two new cases in the UAE are traced to a Chinese citizen, so that doesn’t indicate that the virus is spreading in the UAE. But it’s beyond me that the world is still letting people fly in from China. That includes the United States, where citizens and permanent residents are still allowed to fly in from China, and are only required to “self-monitor” for 14 days.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 21, 2020 at EST am

Friday morning update, Korean virus outbreak keeps getting worse

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Lots of news overnight.

South Korea has announced it’s second virus death (in both cases, they didn’t confirm the virus until AFTER the patient died). The number of confirmed cases has increased to 204, but many more members of the cult church need to be tested, it has been reported that hundreds of members of the church have coronavirus-like symptoms. It looks like the South Korean city of Daegu may be a virus hotspot like Wuhan, China. Several confirmed cases outside of Daegu of people who traveled from Deagu. Will South Korea be able to quarantine an entire city like China was able to do? Not very likely. We should impose a travel ban on South Korea immediately, but the United States is too slow to do anything until it’s too late.

Several more cases throughout Japan, total of 104 case not including the cruise ship.

Throughout the world, people who were cleared of the virus when they were released from the cruise ship are turning up positive in their home countries.

Three new cases in Italy: a 38-year-old man, his wife, and an acquaintance of the family. They have no clue how the man contacted the virus. He has not been to China. He has a friend who did go to China, but they tested that guy and he turned up negative. The implication is that the virus is spreading around Italy.

Iran has officially admitted to 18 cases, but once again, there’s reason to believe they are understating the problem, and it’s likely the city of Qom is another virus hotspot, brought there with Chinese workers. That a Canadian tested positive for the virus after returning from Iran points to the likelihood of a widespread outbreak in Iran. Shi’ite pilgrims returning to Pakistan will very likely bring the virus there as well. Even the official news doesn’t sound so good:

“Based on existing reports, the spread of coronavirus started in Qom and with attention to people’s travels has now reached several cities in the country including Tehran, Babol, Arak, Isfahan, Rasht and other cities and it’s possible that it exists in all cities in Iran,” health ministry official Minou Mohrez said.

First case in Lebanon. But no information. Big question, is this someone who has recently flown in from somewhere else (possibly Iran), or is it local transmission?

Article at Politico explains why hardly anyone is being tested for the virus in the United States. The tests don’t work. What a total f***-up. This is pathetic that a crappy third-world country like Iran can test people and the United States can’t do it. How do we know there aren’t hundreds, even thousands, of cases out there that we don’t know about? Four days ago in Korea, they thought there were only 30 cases and everything was under control. Today there are hundreds of cases. I will remind you again that a Japanese tourist tested positive for the virus AFTER he returned from Hawaii, a state where there are many tourists, including from China before the travel ban. It’s very likely that the Japanese man caught the virus in Hawaii.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 21, 2020 at EST am

Virus outbreak in South Korea, Iran

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52 more cases in South Korea since yesterday. Three days ago, 31 cases. Today 156 cases. That’s 125 confirmed cases in 3 days.

Also, very important, a new case in Canada of a woman in her 30s who recently returned from Iran. Thus the internet rumors of a major outbreak in Iran way beyond what the government has officially admitted would appear to be true.

Also 10 new cases in Japan. Japan has canceled all “major indoor events” for the next three weeks.

How many cases would there be in the United States if anyone was actually being tested here? Probably a lot. Unless you think the United States has some sort of magic dirt which wards off viruses.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 20, 2020 at EST pm

Thursday morning update, debate and virus outbreaks

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That Democratic debate went exactly as I predicted yesterday. The gloves were off, Bloomberg was attacked by everyone, and Bloomberg didn’t do a very good job of defending himself. The debate was a total disaster for Bloomberg. Bernie looked best and I would declare him the winner. Warren and Buttigieg also had a good night. Klobuchar and Biden looked weak.

Even MORE confirmed cases in South Korea since my post last night. Another 22 cases, for a total of 104 confirmed cases. That’s a leap of 73 cases in a little more than two days. Most of the new cases are associated with a super-spreading event at a cult-like church in Daegu. A woman with the virus went to the church 4 times, twice when she was asymptomatic, and twice when she did have symptoms. All schools and universities in Daegu are shut down.

Many of the cases in Singapore also are traced to churches. The lesson of the virus is don’t go to church.

There was one death in Korea and two in Japan (both octogenarian cruise ship passengers) since yesterday.

I believe there have been 8 new cases in Japan outside of the cruise ship since yesterday.

As for the cruise ship, there another 13 confirmed infections among passengers and crew.

There is only one new case in Singapore, a 36 year-old male Chinese national who is a Singapore Work Pass holder, and has no recent travel history to China. Singapore seems to be getting everything under control just as South Korea and Japan seem to be losing control of the virus.

And what about Iran? Officially there are only 5 confirmed cases, with 2 of them already dead. And also officially, all schools and universities in Qom, including Islamic seminaries, are shut down. But there are many unofficial news sources insisting that the outbreak in Iran is a lot worse. If we can believe, there are 9 deaths in Qom alone and more in other cities in Iran.

Iran never banned travel to and from China because China is its number one supporter in the world, so they have to suck up to them. Well that’s what you get for sucking up to China.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

February 20, 2020 at EST am

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